GABRIELLE FLAUM is a graduating senior at Millburn High School in Millburn, New Jersey, where she is captain of the swimming team, runs cross country and is an “A” student. She is also the founder of a teen advocacy group called S.O.S. Save Our Soldiers, dedicated to raising awareness and securing the release of three Israeli soldiers who were kidnapped in the summer of 2006. S.O.S. is also dedicated to the return of five other missing Israeli soldiers. Gabrielle was inspired to form S.O.S. when she was on a trip to Israel in 2006, sponsored by the National Federation of Temple Youth. After her return from Israel, she enlisted other students from her school and synagogue and helped inspire the passage of a resolution in the New Jersey legislature that mirrors United Nations Resolution 1701 in calling for the unconditional release of the kidnapped soldiers. This is the first resolution of its kind to be passed by a state legislature in the United States. In the summer of 2007, at a rally at the U.N. in Manhattan, Gabrielle and other members of S.O.S. shared the podium with Elie Wiesel and other world leaders to present a petition signed by 40,000 people to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to free the soldiers. “All I could see were the words of the petition and the smiling faces of my friends proud of what we were doing,” Gabrielle writes. “I knew that together we could change the world. At this point I realized what S.O.S. was all about, building relationships, networks of advocacy, and an unending commitment by my generation to make the world a better place.” You can learn more by going to the Website www.sos8.wordpress.com
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